In the past 10 years, the job market has shifted drastically. Instead of the mass layoffs seen during the Great Recession, workers are quitting voluntarily. Now, employees are more likely to leave an employer for a better opportunity than ever before—which makes retaining top talent that much more imperative. Employee retention is a multi-faceted issue that businesses are dealing with in all industries and sectors. From increasing wages to better benefits to flexible hours, businesses are trying everything. However, some companies are looking toward a different solution to employee retention: Community Involvement.
Community Involvement and Retention
In an article on Forbes, Timberland CEO Jeff Schwartz was quoted giving his answer of whether or not corporate social responsibility was reflected in lower turnover. His answer was short and sweet: “Employees don’t stay with a company because of benefits. It’s the long-term relationship-building that attracts people to stay.” For years, building good relationships in the community was seen as a way for companies to either give back to the people in the local market or to merely make themselves appear community-oriented. Those two seemed to be the only factors. However, more and more employees are attracted to service-minded employers. According to IBM Global business Services, 44% of young professionals said they would discount an employer with a bad reputation and nearly half said corporate social responsibility policies should be compulsory. However, once a candidate has researched the reputation of and decided to work for a particular company, what makes that employee in it for the long haul? For many, it is finding meaning in their work.
Meaningful Work and Retention
Pay and benefits are still important in the marketplace, but finding meaning in their work is one of the most important factors for job seekers. And regardless of what type of work your company does, it is still important to provide your employees with meaningful work—which can be achieved through volunteering. The great thing is that your workforce most likely is on the same page. According to Harvard Business Review, 86% of Millennials and 85% of Boomers believe it is important that their work involve “giving back.” Though Gen Xers are about 10% less likely to feel this way, the majority of the workforce still overwhelmingly feels this is important. Creating a culture of giving back is a great way to retain your employees who are looking for meaning in their work. But when it comes to corporate sponsorship, where do you even begin? At the top.
Creating a Culture of Community Involvement
Engaging your workforce in community-related events starts with a strong corporate citizenship culture at your company. That means a focus on giving back through donations and service, as well as a dedication to social well-being. As leaders, you must develop these traits in your organizations before they can be used for employee engagement and retention purposes. In a study by The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College, 87% of businesses said their primary goal of community involvement programs was to address community needs. This is a culture shift that must begin at the top until it can truly affect recruiting efforts. Depending on your company size, the sky is the limit when it comes to community involvement and volunteering ideas. For example, try to meet an immediate need in your neighborhood. This could simply be philanthropic opportunities or volunteer needs. Another way to spark interest in volunteering is by joining forces with a non-profit organization and setting aside time to volunteer. Whether helping load trucks at a food pantry or spending time with the elderly at a nursing home, giving back to the community as an organization does wonders to team morale and productivity.
A Solution to Employee Retention
Retaining your top talent is imperative to maintaining a strong footprint in your market. And having a strong, loyal team is what can separate you from your competitors. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, employees most committed to their organizations put in 57% more effort on the job—and are 87% less likely to quit—than employees who consider themselves disengaged. Developing a strong corporate social responsibility program can not only make your community a better place, but also help attract and retain the right people.
How has community involvement affected your company? What have you done to ensure your employees feel they are making a difference at work? Let us know in the comments section below!